Carestream Dental has been operating as a standalone company
providing imaging, software and practice management
solutions to the dental profession since 2007, but its roots
extend more than a century back. With ties to industry leaders
such as PracticeWorks Systems, Trophy Radiologie and Eastman
Kodak, Carestream Dental has been undergoing a rebrand campaign
to firmly establish the company itself, its products and its
people. This initiative included an ad campaign to raise awareness
for the brand, new product launches to further the recognition,
and, most recently, shedding the Kodak name from
software and imaging equipment to align all products under the
CS brand identity. Today, the company is excitedly looking
toward the future. To learn more about Carestream Dental’s
past, present and future, Dentaltown Magazine
spoke with U.S.
President and CEO Patrik Eriksson, Chief Marketing Officer
and Director of Business Development Dr. Edward Shellard,
and Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Product Line Manager
for Clinical Imaging Dr. Jeffery Brooks.
Gentlemen, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to talk with us. Carestream Dental has been in the dental market for a long time. When and how did it get its start?
Carestream Dental is the result of many companies
that have joined forces over time through partnerships and acquisitions,
and we all work together as one company toward our common
goal of redefining expertise for dental practitioners.
Carestream Dental’s roots date back to 1896 when the world’s
first bitewing image was taken. Later, in 1919, the first modern
dental X-ray film was introduced by Eastman. For the next several
decades, our predecessors, Kodak and Trophy, continued to
innovate in dental imaging – introducing extra-oral radiographic
film, digital radiography sensors and systems, and more.
Despite our growth as a global company, we’ve kept our
small-business feel in regard to our customers. This mindset
drives us to always want to understand exactly what our customers
are experiencing, and we work fast to respond and introduce
new solutions that address their needs.
In January this year, Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy. Because Carestream Dental and Kodak were closely connected in name, how did Eastman Kodak’s bankruptcy announcement affect you?
In 2007, the Kodak Health Group became an
independent company called Carestream. As an independent
company, we became solely responsible for manufacturing, selling
and supporting our products and solutions; however, we
continued to license the Kodak name for our products due to
the brand recognition.
Then on September 1, 2010, we introduced the Carestream
Dental brand and logo that represent the future of our company.
At the beginning of 2011, we introduced our first product with
the CS brand, the CS 9300, our flagship cone beam computed
tomography (CBCT) unit, and stopped using the
Kodak name on most of our products.
Eastman Kodak’s bankruptcy has created an opportunity
for us to share our company’s history of innovation with customers,
potential customers and others in the industry. It has
allowed us to have conversations about who we are and what we
offer, as well as create awareness for our brand by telling our story.
What is Carestream Dental’s business philosophy?
We are focused on simplifying the lives of practitioners
by providing them with tools that make their lives easier
and improve the health of their patients.
Also key to our business philosophy is the desire to share our
technology with people who cannot afford proper dental treatment.
We regularly donate or loan our products to, and have
members of our team serve during, various Mission of Mercy
events nationally, Mercy Ships missions internationally and
other service initiatives.
How does Carestream Dental set itself apart from its
A key differentiator between Carestream Dental
and our competitors is that we design, develop, manufacture,
sell and support our broad portfolio of products. While we got
our start offering imaging products, over the years we have
expanded to also offer software and practice management solutions,
including our robust collection of electronic services.
We build our imaging products from the ground up, and we
develop our software in-house. We do this because we want to
make sure that our products work seamlessly together and that
we are ultimately providing integrated solutions for the integrated
practices of today and tomorrow.
Also, due to our strong, clinical foundation as a
company, product development at Carestream Dental is clinically driven. We work to make sure that our customers get the full diagnostic potential out of all of our imaging solutions.
How is Carestream Dental branding itself today?
As a company, we are working to position
Carestream Dental based on three pillars that describe our
distinguishing characteristics in the industry – diagnostic
excellence, workflow integration and humanized technology.
Together, these create the Carestream Dental Factor
Tell me about your team. What’s the culture like at
Our team is made up of a diverse group of people.
A portion of our team is clinically anchored, meaning they
are long-tenured and experienced in the dental
industry whether practicing themselves
or teaching in an academic
setting. Another part of our
team is made up of seasoned
business professionals who
know how to strengthen
and grow a company. Our
team is rounded out by
the younger people we
bring into the mix to drive
our company’s innovation
and push the status quo.
Our team is passionate
about driving innovation in
the dental industry. We strive to develop solutions
that are not on par or subpar, but rather products
that set the bar when it comes to fulfilling clinicians’
Not only is our team passionate about what we do every day,
but we are comprised of individuals who are results-driven. We
understand that dentists always want the best test results and
treatment outcomes for their patients. Therefore, our team has
a sense of purpose developing our products because we know
that we are helping to improve patients’ lives.
Now, let’s talk products. Describe your research and development process.
Carestream Dental products are designed by clinicians,
for clinicians. Because we are clinicians ourselves, are
friends with practitioners or are exposed to the technology in an
academic environment, we have insight into the needs of the
industry. We are also able to identify needs by having conversations
with our customers directly, by way of their sales representatives
or through our support channels.
We enjoy working closely with dentists and want
others to get involved in the development of our products, so we can continue to deliver solutions that provide more precise diagnoses,
improved workflows and superior patient care.
By working with dentists directly, we can identify
the clinical gap. We then work to articulate the gap to our developers,
which leads to the gap being closed.
The process of product development is very
focused. Once we’re in the process itself, we use a series of gates
– regulatory, manufacturing, legal/patents, marketing, sales and
training – to manage the development.
What can a practice expect when it purchases a
product from Carestream Dental?
When a product is purchased, our team installs
the product in the practice and trains the entire team on how to
use it. Training ensures that practices are using the product in
the most optimal way, and it can be conducted online,
onsite or a combination of the two.
Carestream Dental also offers its Advantage Plan,
a comprehensive support program
that meets the needs of
Our team has created a
better customer experience
for our end users by having
only one company for them
to go to for support, rather
than having to identify the
correct group to reach out
to with questions. We have a
help desk in Atlanta, Georgia,
that has 250 specially trained
agents. Customers can find the
appropriate number to call by visiting
customers call, they are routed to the correct skill group for their
question. A support representative then works with customers to
identify and diagnose what issue they are encountering. Our
support representatives are experienced enough to understand
We are very proud of our first-call resolution rate, which
boasts a track record of resolving more than 85 percent of issues
doctors or their teams have on the first call.
Think about the company’s most significant accomplishment.
Can you tell us all about it?
Our most significant accomplishment has been
to give customers the ability to change patients’ lives. One
way we’ve accomplished this is by developing a focused-field
3D unit. Introduced in 2007, the CS 9000 3D extra-oral
imaging system was the first of a new generation of 3D imaging
systems created specifically for dental professionals. The
system combines high-resolution, low-dose panoramic and 3D imaging exams at an affordable price. With the CS 9000
3D, clinicians around the world are able to diagnose conditions
that were not possible to diagnose in the past with 2D
imaging alone. Not only does 3D imaging offer phenomenal
image quality, but it greatly enhances practitioners’ diagnostic
ability. The unit also improves treatment planning and creates
a better patient experience.
You claim seven out of 10 practitioners use your products
globally – which of your products has the most
market share? To what do you attribute Carestream
Dental’s successful penetration in dentistry?
Both our analog (film) and digital (RVG) intraoral
imaging products are widely used across the industry, and
we are market share leaders in CBCT globally. Altogether, our
imaging products account for more than 800,000,000 of all
dental images that are captured each year.
At Carestream Dental, we have a deep and intimate understanding
of how practices work. Identifying the needs, frustrations
and desires of practices, and then addressing them in the
products and technologies that we develop, have led to our successful
penetration in dentistry.
We gain this understanding through our voice of customer
work, which is pivotal to all the products we develop. We make
it a point to spend time in our customers’ practices to watch
how they work and learn what they’d like to see improved. We
also collect customer input through surveys, thought leader
meetings and an annual users’ conference that we hold specifically
for our dental general practitioners.
Carestream Dental was a pioneer in digital radiography
in the early 1980s. How has the field changed
since then, and how are you able to keep pushing the
boundaries of digital imaging today?
Since the advent of our RVG sensor in 1982 (the
world’s first digital intra-oral radiography sensor), the two biggest
changes in the field have been that the technology is now more
mainstream in practices, and there are many more competitors in
the space. Digital is now a given in our lives. Not only do we work
on computers now, but we also interact with other digital platforms
such as our smartphones and digital tablets like iPads. Now,
this is how we can look at images, too – directly on screens.
Carestream Dental continues to push the boundaries of digital
radiography today by working to bring practices the very
best image quality. Not only do our RVG 6100 and RVG 6500
sensors offer the same, best-in-class image quality radiographs in
the industry (>20 lp/mm resolution), but our RVG 6500 system
is also able to transfer images wirelessly and securely to operatory
computers without sacrificing image quality
Last year The New York Times published an article
about the danger of X-ray radiation in dentistry. How
has Carestream Dental addressed this concern?
In my opinion, CBCT is the single, biggest breakthrough
in dentistry as it allows practitioners to gain immediate
access to accurate 3D images of anatomical structures, which are
often critical to precise diagnoses, more effective treatment planning
and increased case acceptance.
Carestream Dental advocates adherence to the ALARA
Principle (as low as reasonably achievable), and we are committed
to educating dental professionals about the benefits of
CBCT, as well as how to use it safely for the maximum benefit
Carestream Dental seems to pride itself on workflow
integration. How do your products best work together?
We design our products, software and solutions
to work with each other. When we first begin developing a
new product or upgrading an existing product, we think
about how it will fit in the dental
practice and work with other
products we already make. This
is the key to our development
process. Also, the extensive troubleshooting
we do to ensure that
our products work hand-in-hand
is evident as soon as practices start
using our solutions and experiencing an
integrated workflow. We also create our
solutions with open architecture as
much as possible in an effort to try to
make our products work with competitive
products as well.
For more information about
Carestream Dental, visit www.carestreamdental.com or call 800-944-6365.